News / Africa

Kitengela Glass Produces Art Outside Nairobi National Park

At the edge of Nairobi National Park sits Kitengela Glass, where artisans make internationally-renowned vases, goblets, pitchers and other glassworks. They use recycled materials to make their creations and work in a compound where people, animals, trees and art all co-exist.

Artisans fashion stained-glass windows at Kitengela Glass
Artisans fashion stained-glass windows at Kitengela Glass

Multimedia

A magical fairyland, where houses are dragons, mosaic pathways lead to mysterious nooks and crannies, and all manner of creatures are fast friends.

Welcome to Kitengela Glass.

Here, 75 artisans create lampshades, goblets, beaded curtains - even hats made from old beer cans.

"When I learn how to cut glass, I can draw; I can make a bird, an animal like a lion, a frog," said artisan Millycent Makena. "If you learn how to cut glass, you learn a lot, so if I am told to cut an image of a fish, I can do it and go to the next level."

Kitengela artisans use traditional glass blowing methods.

First, the glass blower gathers a blob of liquid glass from inside the oven. The glass is very hot - 1,100 degrees centigrade. He then expands the blob by blowing into it.

And shapes it into whatever he wishes.

A punty - a steel rod with a small glass blob - aids the production.

Finishing touches are added, and viola! All ready for the dining room table.

Joseph Githinji Kiboi is training to become a glass blower.

"[It is] something I have never seen before - I just used to see this on the videos, on pictures, but now I can make something of the sort, where I have to imagine," he said. "After imagining a design, the materials are available; I produce what I have imagined. Then it is accepted by customers who come here and visit us."

Kitengela Glass products include stained glass using recycled materials
Kitengela Glass products include stained glass using recycled materials

Elsewhere at Kitengela Glass, artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks...and fashion stained-glass windows, lamps and other objects.

Nani Croze founded Kitengela Glass after coming to Kenya 30 years ago from Germany. She says the compound itself is her work of art.

"It is letting people know what they can do with an environment, how beautiful you can make it, and it does not have to be square and please, no straight lines," she said. "I am not alone with this."

Nothing is wasted. Artisans collect and use recycled glass, cans, scrap metal and other waste materials.

And not just to make art.

"We run our bio-gas with cow dung and a bit of water and it works," said Croze. "I run the soldering irons with it, I cook food with just our bio-gas and it works very nicely. I have a wonderful green shamba - garden - now because of the effluents of the bio-gas afterwards. We have a windmill; I have solar [panels]."

Croze is a muralist by profession. She says everything within the compound encourages creativity.

Artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks
Artisans create mosaics from thick glass blocks

"Everybody has to go around with a pencil and a paper pad, and if anything comes to mind, you need to write it down, or draw it, or sketch it for the ideas that are continually bombarding our brains, so we should really not forget them," she said. "Only a very small portion of what we actually think and conceive gets to be made because there is so much out there that we do not have enough hands, heads, time."

Kitengela Glass products are sold in different parts of East Africa, with some being shipped to Europe and North America.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid